There Comes A Time – Part Two [FICTION]

Bank

When Daphne encounters someone from her past at work, it throws her for a loop. (Photo by Adrian Berg, Flickr)

Daphne sat in her cubicle at the bank crunching ice as she went over the mortgage papers for the Chesterfield account. Everything looked in order, so the closing on their house should be easy peasy. She hated when things went haywire at the last minute, so she always did her best to ensure her clients had nothing to complain about, that the titles were clear and there were no troublesome liens that came out of nowhere only to surprise everyone involved. She had just slipped all of the paperwork into a folder when she heard a tapping on her wall. “Oh hi Mr. Price,” she said, smiling up at her boss.

Ferris Price looked down at her without so much as a grin. He’d been the bank president for decades, and was way past retirement age. Yet he never failed to arrive at the office first, his three piece suit impeccably pressed. His rheumy eyes gazed at her over the tops of his glasses, which were perched precariously close to the end of his nose. “Is everything ready for the Chesterfield closing, Ms. Moretti?”

Jeez, just no smiles from this one, Daphne thought. And how long does a gal have to work with you for you to call her by her first name? “Yes, I was just giving everything a once over before the meeting. Would you like to join us when they come in?” She knew he sometimes liked to sit in on major transactions with their top clients, and the Chesterfields were whales in the banking world.

“No, no. That won’t be necessary,” he said. “Our legal counsel, Mr. Daly, will be here in my place. Do make him feel welcome when he arrives.”

“Mr. Daly. Got it!” Daphne’s smile faltered for just a moment as she watched Mr. Price turn on his heel and disappear into his corner office. Dear God, why today? The very thought of Lance Daly made her swoon. She’d known him since high school, when she was the Amazonian drama geek with the massive halo of brown curls who bought her clothes at Army surplus stores. Lance, on the other hand, was every girl’s dream date. Tall, athletic, and wealthy, he had never been stuck up, but instead was smart, ambitious, and surprisingly nice, even to her.

When she took the job at the bank, Daphne hadn’t seen Lance in years, so when she ran into him at the company awards banquet, she had wanted to die. Although she was just as tall as she’d ever been, she had nearly doubled her weight. To his credit, he had actually remembered who she was and even seemed happy to see her. Mr. Price had interrupted their conversation, however, and swept him off for a private chat, which gave her the opportunity to run into the ladies room and have a mild panic attack. Since that night, she’d done a good job avoiding him. And now, today of all days, Mr. Price was throwing them back together again. Why did I give up cigarettes again, she wondered as she pulled open a drawer to check her makeup and swallow an Altoids mint.

Sonia tapped lightly at the door to Carla’s office. The staff normally tried not to bother her when she had the door closed, but she’d been away for months and Sonia had come to think of her like a big sister. “Ms. Carla,” she called softly. “Are you busy?”

“Come in, come in,” Carla said. She forced a smile when Sonia entered and hoped that her eyes weren’t still red from her earlier outburst.

“Is everything okay,” Sonia asked.

Carla forced a chuckle. “Yes, it’s just that time of year.”

Sonia raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Allergy season,” Carla said.

“Ah, okay.”

Upon seeing the expression on Sonia’s face, Carla realized she was fooling no one. “What can I do for you Sonia?”

“You’ve been gone for so long, I never got the opportunity to give this to you before, after… well, after everything happened,” she said. “I thought you might want it.” She handed Carla a turquoise box wrapped in a bow.

A Tiffany’s box? She paid her staff well, but not this well, Carla thought, taking the box in her hands. “What’s this for?”

“Open it,” Sonia said.

Carla tugged at the bow and carefully removed the lid from the box. Inside was a small gold locket. It was pretty, but it was easy to see that it hadn’t come from Tiffany’s. She hoped Sonia hadn’t been swindled because she was foreign. That always made her angry when she knew that happened. She carefully opened it and read the inscription, which said “Sonia y Carla—amigas para siempre.” She looked up at Sonia and smiled. “This is lovely!”

Sonia bounced on her heels, grinning broadly. “I’m so glad you like it! My cousin is a jeweler and he made them for us. I wanted you to have it after you were so nice and helped me get my green card.”

Carla stood and hugged her friend and thanked her again, but Sonia pulled away after a few moments. “Everything okay?”

“My break is over. I just wanted to give that to you in case you needed to leave early. But I need to head back. Deb will be angry if I leave her with the afternoon book club group all by herself.”

“Of course. Thank you again,” she said, and smiled as Sonia went back out to the front of the store. Her thumb rubbed over the locket as she sat down once more and thought that of everything she lost, the one thing she still did have was good friends.

Daphne walked around the conference table, putting out glasses of water, pens, and small tablets for everyone attending the closing that afternoon. Just as she was leaning over to turn on her iPad and spread out her paperwork, she realized that she wasn’t alone in the room. She looked up to see Lance leaning in the doorway, smiling at her.

“Daphne Moretti,” he said, his voice warm. “Some people never change.”

“Ha!” Daphne grinned, despite herself. “I guess that must be true since you still can’t say anything without sounding like a flirt.”

Lance chuckled. “I was talking about you.”

“God, I hope I’ve changed some since we saw each other last.”

“You have,” he agreed. “And maybe I shouldn’t say this being legal counsel and all, but I think we’re still friends, so I’m going to anyway.”

Were we ever really friends? Daphne thought that might have been too strong a word to put on their high school relationship. Even acquaintance seemed a bit too familiar.

“I think you’ve only become prettier with time,” he said.

Daphne rolled her eyes. “I somehow think you say that to all the gals.”

“Questioning my sincerity?” He clutched his chest dramatically. “You cut a man to the quick.”

“No, I just know how to cut through the bologna,” she said, stifling a giggle as she watched him finally enter the room and sit down at the table.

“Touché,” he said, grinning. “You always were fun to spar with Moretti,” he said as he adjusted his tie.

Perhaps he remembers high school differently than I do, she thought, trying not to stare but helpless to notice how handsome he looked in his navy blue suit, windswept blond hair and dazzling blue eyes. I don’t exactly remember much sparring. 

“So the Chesterfields aren’t here yet?”

“No, not for another twenty minutes. I’m surprised you’re here this early. Did Ferris tell you to be on time under penalty of death?”

Lance nodded. “Yeah, you know how he is. He could have taught at a parochial school. None of us dare cross him for fear of being lashed with a ruler.”

“Good analogy. But then you always were good with words,” she said as she settled into the chair across from him and reached for her water.

“You remember that?”

“Of course. You were always published in the school fiction anthology and you were president of the storyteller’s guild. I was actually surprised when I found out you became a lawyer. I always figured you’d wind up on the bestseller list or something.”

He looked beyond her, an expression of whimsy on his face. “I think I still have a novel or two in me somewhere. My folks didn’t think a wordsmith would make much of a living, so I’ve had to put that dream on hold.” His eyes settled on her again. “I’m glad you remember that.”

“To remembering,” she said, hoisting her water glass in the air.

The receptionist stepped inside the conference room, just in time to interrupt their moment. “The Chesterfields are here,” she said. “Should I send them in?”

“Yes, of course,” Daphne said as she and Lance both rose from their chairs to greet their clients. As he turned to shake hands with them, she cocked her head and appraised him once more. Perhaps I’m the one who is remembering high school all wrong. The thought was fleeting, however, and she quickly composed herself as Mrs. Chesterfield said hello.

Click here to read part one of There Comes A Time. 

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

3 Responses to There Comes A Time – Part Two [FICTION]

  1. Pingback: There Comes A Time – Part One [FICTION] | Jathan Fink

  2. Jathan Fink says:

    Reblogged this on Jadeworks Entertainment and commented:

    In part two of our new original serial story, THERE COMES A TIME, Daphne encounters someone from her past while Carla receives an unexpected gift. Happy reading!

  3. Pingback: There Comes A Time – Part Three [FICTION] | Jathan Fink

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